Monday, December 15, 2014

Josh Cook Has Mercer County Headed in the Right Direction

New head coach Josh Cook has the Mercer County Titans off to a solid start and headed in the right direction.

I checked out Mercer County's 72-57 win over Louisville Moore Saturday night.

The Titans took a lead early and never looked back as they rolled to their third win of the season.

Mercer County (3-2) was led by a game-high 33 points from freshman guard Trevon Faulkner. Faulkner, who is averaging a team-high 23.6 points per game this season, also had 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Junior point guard Will Hager flirted with a triple-double as he finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. Ballard transfer Malik Dow added 12 points, 4 boards and 3 blocks.

Keonte Smith led Moore (1-3) with 24 points. Robbie Hagman chipped in 15.

A few notes:

- 2016 PG Will Hager is still the straw that stirs the drink for Mercer County. Defenses primarily key on Hager, which frees up scoring opportunities for open teammates. Hager is a legitimate low- to mid-major D1 prospect.

- An assistant coach from Belmont was at the game to check out Hager. I'm told by a good source that Belmont liked Hager and will continue to keep an eye on him.

- Mercer County basketball needs more energy in the stands. I don't mean this as a knock on Mercer County but their arena was perhaps the least energetic high school arena I've been to in a couple of seasons. The stands were lifeless throughout the game. There was no band, no cheerleaders (they were at a state competition and that's understandable) and no noise. The Titans have two of the top players in the Class of 2016, one of the top players in the Class of 2018, very nice basketball facilities and an energetic young coach who will get the program where it needs to be sooner rather than later. Mercer County fans need to get out and support their program.

- 2016 SF Malik Dow fought with foul trouble the entire game. Dow picked up 2 fouls in 3 minutes and missed the majority of the first half. He then got his 3rd foul late in the first half, which limited his second half minutes. When he was on the court, Dow was a game changer for the Titans. His athleticism is feared on both ends of the court and the trio of Dow, Hager and Faulkner will be  force to be reckoned with come tournament time.

- Speaking of 2018 SG Trevon Faulkner. This kid can flat out score the basketball. He is averaging 23.6 points per game through the Titans' first 5 games. I was unaware of Faulkner coming into the game. After the game, I was finding out anything I could about the talented freshman.

- Moore's 2016 PG Keonte Smith can play, too. Smith is a bit undersized at 5'8" but he can absolutely put the ball in the basket. He has the speed, athleticism and scoring ability to find a home at the next level.

Here are a few highlights:

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